Pretty much everyone on the island now knows that about 7pm on Monday, Oct. 21, a Cessna 208B Caravan commuter aircraft operated by Mokulele Airlines made an emergency landing on Pi’ilani Highway in Wailea near the Kilohana intersection. According to a Maui News story posted about an hour after the accident, the plane’s eight passengers and two pilots were all safe, and the pilot–who reported engine trouble, showed considerable skill by putting the plane down on a South Maui highway without hurting anyone on the ground.
Most of the photos published of the plane (including the one I took) showed emergency personnel standing in front of the plane’s tail or “N” number. But this photo taken the night of the accident clearly shows the aircraft’s N Number as N861MA.
National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) online records show that in 2009, that particular Mokulele Airlines aircraft was previously involved in a nonfatal (and slightly comical) accident on Molokai. According to the NTSB report on the accident, on Oct. 15, 2009, that plane “sustained substantial damage when the airplane’s tail impacted the ground during the passenger boarding process at the Molokai Airport, Kaunakakai, Hawaii.”
The accident, states the NTSB report, took place during the loading of the plane. “[T]he director of operations reported that after the passengers were boarded, the second-in-command (SIC) pilot noted a discrepancy in the load manifest,” states the NTSB report. “The SIC communicated the error to the ramp agent who then opened the aft door and boarded the airplane with the passengers still on board. The airplane subsequently ’tilted downward’ and the tail struck the tarmac.”
According to the NTSB report, the plane suffered “structural damage to an aft bulkhead (FS 427.88) and the tail tie down assembly.” The report further states that on Oct. 21, 2009, “a Major Repair and Alteration Form 337 was submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration detailing the repairs to the airplane.”
Like the accident Monday night, the NTSB report says that in the 2009 accident none of the aircraft’s pilots or five passengers were injured.
(A version of this story appeared on Oct. 21 on our Mauifeed.com blog)
Photo: Penny Palmer